There’s more to the Portland Trail Blazers in this free agency than just their All-Star power forward. Wesley Matthews, coming back from a torn Achilles which might have cost his team a long stay in the postseason, is ahead of schedule in his rehab, and besides the obvious interest from his own team to re-sign him, he’s getting signals from the Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks.
Matthews was having another very good season for the Blazers before he tore his Achilles tendon, ending his season with 22 games to go. He was averaging 15.9 points while shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc up to that point, and has developed into one of the better two-way shooting guards in the NBA over his five seasons in Portland, joining them after a forgettable rookie year in Utah.
And while the Blazers would like to keep him, Matthews, making $7.2 million last season, wants something a lot closer to $15 million a season. With the Blazers focusing on re-signing Aldridge and giving Damian Lillard his extension, both maximum deals, it’s hard seeing them give Matthews so much money although the team’s owner, Paul Allen, doesn’t mind spending if he feels there’s a major shot at a title.
If the Blazers drop the ball on this one, the Raptors and Mavericks will be happy to pick it up.
The Mavericks don’t have a shooting guard at the moment; at least not one they’d like to start the season with. Matthews is a risk after his injury but it doesn’t seem to bother him or stop him from asking for a lot of money. While the Mavericks do have other signings on their mind (Aldridge, first and foremost), they’ll be keeping their eye on Matthews.
The Raptors have also entered the Aldridge sweepstakes, but there has been talk about them pulling off a trade which will include DeMar DeRozan. It’s not quite clear if Matthews is the better player, but Masai Ujiri might be making some big moves this offseason, and that might eventually include adding Matthews, although it’ll be a little bit complicated.